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Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Pharmacist, Varde Pharmacy

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What is Snus and How Does it Affect Your Teeth and Gums?

Snus is a tobacco product that users place under their lip. It releases nicotine directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes of the mouth. This action exposes the user's gums and teeth to various harmful substances, including nicotine and carcinogenic chemicals.

Snus irritates the mucous membrane in the mouth, leading to the formation of hard white patches on the gums where the product has been in contact. The gums often recede where snus has been placed, leaving the teeth more exposed and prominent. This daily exposure can cause long-term damage that cannot be reversed by simply stopping the use of snus.

Staining of the teeth is also a common consequence, which significantly affects the aesthetic appearance.

Negative Effects of Snus on Teeth and Gums

Snus stains teeth and can cause gum problems. It can also wear down the enamel, leading to sensitivity to heat and cold.


Tooth discoloration is a common side effect for snus users. The active substances in the product, such as nicotine, adhere to the teeth and lead to yellow-brown discolorations.

These color changes can be difficult to remove, even long after stopping the use of snus. Teeth whitening at a dentist can reduce the discoloration, but it is not always enough to make the teeth completely white again.

Users often realize too late that their smile has become darker or more yellow. This is because the discoloration occurs gradually and can be hard to notice on a daily basis. Regular dental check-ups can help detect and address these changes early.

Gum Problems

Snus affects the gums and can cause serious problems. The use of snus irritates the mucous membrane in the mouth, creating hard white patches that indicate damage. It often causes the gums to recede, making the teeth longer and more exposed. This gum recession can lead to sensitive teeth and increase the risk of further oral diseases.

Using snus can lead to red, sore, or swollen gums, changes in the mucous membrane, and tooth discoloration.

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Gums after snus use also show symptoms such as redness, soreness or swelling. These signs should be taken seriously as they can be the beginning of more serious gum problems.

To avoid permanent damage, it's important to maintain good oral hygiene and regularly visit a dental clinic for check-ups.

Enamel Wear

Enamel wear occurs due to the formation of hard patches caused by irritated mucous membranes. This damage is permanent and cannot be reversed, even after stopping the use of snus.

Dentists recommend avoiding snus to prevent this irreversible damage to the enamel and maintain dental health.

Risk of Oral Cancer with Snus Use

Using snus increases the risk of developing oral and pancreatic cancer. A survey of 527 dentists showed that 4 out of 10 had patients with oral damage related to snus use.

The dental association warns that snus is carcinogenic and can cause permanent damage in the mouth. It is important to be aware of these serious risks associated with snus use, as it can have long-lasting and devastating consequences for one's health.

How to Protect Your Teeth and Gums While Using Snus

Rinse your mouth with water after using snus to remove residues. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and visit the dentist regularly for check-ups.

Good Oral Hygiene

To maintain good oral hygiene while using snus, it is important to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. This will help remove plaque and protect the enamel from snus-induced damage.

Additionally, use dental floss daily to remove food particles and plaque between the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach.

Another important step is to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. The dentist can identify any damage caused by snus early and provide advice on further prevention.

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Dental Visits

After using snus, regular dental visits are crucial to monitor and treat any damage to the teeth and gums. The dentist's professional assessment can help identify early signs of gum problems, tooth discoloration, and enamel wear caused by snus.

With frequent visits, potential problems can be detected and managed early, reducing the extent of damage and the need for more extensive treatments. With the right guidance and care from the dentist, preventive measures can be taken to protect teeth and gums from the negative effects of snus.

Your regular dental visits also provide an opportunity to discuss potential risks of oral cancer associated with snus use. The dentist can perform a thorough examination of the oral cavity and identify any abnormal or concerning signs, which can lead to early detection and treatment of possible problems related to the cancer risk from snus use.

Alternatives to Snus

There are alternatives to snus, such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and e-cigarettes. These alternatives can help you reduce or stop using snus, thereby reducing damage to your teeth and gums.

Many snus users have successfully switched to these alternatives to protect their oral cavity. The alternatives to snus can be less harmful to teeth and gums compared to snus.


Using snus can cause serious damage to teeth and gums. Snus irritates the mucous membranes and can lead to gum recession as well as tooth discoloration. It contains nicotine and carcinogenic substances, increasing the risk of oral and pancreatic cancer.

To protect your teeth and gums, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene and seek regular dental care. Also, consider exploring alternatives to snus to avoid these negative consequences.


What is snus, and how does it affect the gums?

Snus is a form of tobacco that is placed under the lip. It can damage the gums and lead to gum recession and discoloration.

Can using snus lead to dental problems?

Yes, using snus can increase the risk of gum diseases.

Why does snus damage the gums?

Snus contains nicotine and other chemicals that can irritate and reduce blood flow to the gums. This leads to gum recession, where the gums pull back from the teeth, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth loss.

Is there a link between snus and serious diseases?

Research shows that long-term use of snus can increase the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and even colorectal cancer. The nicotine in snus also negatively affects the blood and heart.

How does snus affect pregnant women and their children?

Pregnant women who use snus expose themselves and their unborn children to risk. The nicotine can lead to lower birth weight and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy.

Is snus less harmful than smoking?

Although snus is often perceived as a less harmful alternative to smoking, it still carries serious health risks, including damage to the oral cavity and an increased risk of certain cancers.

What can be done to reduce the negative effects of snus on gums and teeth?

The best step to protect your gums and teeth is to stop using snus. If you need help quitting, there are many resources and support groups that can offer guidance and motivation.


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